In July of 2018, I was not thinking too much about having a super close friendship with another live-in helper, because we’ve had many. But after beginning a regular-communicating relationship with Juan, I am thankful for this young man. Here’s what having him as part of our family means.
Having Juan as part of our family has given me the opportunity to finish my master’s degree, keeps my husband at work on regular hours, and gets a third person helping with child taxi service (otherwise I would be in the car for hours). Juan’s presence has allowed our family to travel and experience regular family vacations which would not be possible without his help.
I am very grateful for the way Juan shows up ready to help when I need him and how good he has been to allow flexibility in his hours when things do not go “quite right” according to plans, because with special needs parenting, my plans are frequently lost to accommodate our eldest son’s needs, so there’s very little time to socialize or accomplish anything else. Sometimes children get sick and need daytime care, so I am thankful when Juan allows me to keep an appointment and changes his schedule to accommodate my needs. This has allowed me to build my business and make contact and connections, that otherwise might fall through because I can meet and explain my work/ministry with potential partners. Juan has learned more about physical therapy too, because our eldest son, needs him for his visits to the PT, OT, and ST each week.
Juan’s genuine caring heart has made all the difference in planning to make me feel like someone really cares. His genuine love for our kids is evident, as he will play with our gymnast daughter, attempt to convince our youngest son to clean his room and just simply help our eldest special needs son with regular routine care, doctors’ visits with me, as well as big trips like the Grand Canyon, where everyone had an experience of a lifetime!
Juan likes many Columbian foods, so we’ve even had the chance to experience some different flavors while we share our American cultural heritage with him. What a treat it was to have true Columbian coffee and experience a deep, rich flavor of his homeland!
Lastly, I do nominate Juan for Au Pair of the year, because he has remained a faithful Au Pair to our family while helping many other Au Pairs in their difficulties with adjustment to the USA. Special needs assignments are more challenging and many Au Pairs would not consider our family’s situation, so we are blessed that Juan has learned so much to adapt to our USA culture, as well as the modified sign language and medical care needed for Ben.
Juan does miss his family in Columbia, but he is grateful to find a family he feels is a great match for a long-term friendship. I do hope this nomination propels him to a higher standard because he does manage much each day and keeps a good attitude and sense of humor with any challenge that presents itself.
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“After years of stress and frustration, and many different nannies, we decided to look for an au pair. When Veronika arrived on January 2, 2016 our lives were forever changed. We had no idea that a real life Mary Poppins had just arrived!”
“I can honestly say that bringing her to live with us as our au pair has been the best decision we could possibly have made. She has afforded us so many priceless “intangibles” during her time here that I can’t begin to quantify her contributions to our family.”